Monday, August 29, 2005

"You Know You Want It"???

So this week, my lead contribution to Newsarama's BEST SHOTS reviews is Adventures of Superman #643. Greg Rucka & Co. have been doing a great job with Superman in this book, and a lot of heavy shit's been going down between DC's "Big Three": Superman, Wonder Woman & Batman. Make no mistake about it, these a not the same cheery folks from Superfriends all those years ago. Basically none of them trust each other right now. Superman was brainwashed into kicking Batman's ass, Batman is heavily responsible for rogue technology that is running rampant all over the world, and Wonder Woman resorted to killing the person responsible for brainwashing Superman in the first place. For the most part, it's been good stuff.

What hasn't been good stuff is Rob Liefeld's current contribution to Teen Titans. My God, I didn't know that it was possible for an artist this popular to be so fucking awful. For all the complaints (some valid) you can find online against the likes of Michael Turner, Ian Churchill, Tony Daniel or Jim Lee, none of them even come close to matching the sheer horrendousness that Liefeld is churning out right now. The bad news ( and I use that term loosely) is that because I did not buy Teen Titans #27, I do not have the page by page evidence to show you here as to how pathetic the artwork is. I was able to find a couple of pieces online.

There's this little gem:

So besides the fact that Rob can't do a proper bowling stance, we're to believe that when the Titans get together to bowl in the comforts of their own headquaters while taking a break from work that they do so in full costume with the masks on??? George Perez would be so ashamed.

Here, where Liefeld by the way comes up with his own original take on Robin's costume, he is so incapable of producing distinguishing features in his male characters that his Robin, a boy no older than 16, could easily pass as former Robin Dick Grayson, known to all now as Nightwing, a man in his early to mid-20s.

I also like how Liefeld has little to no penchant for backgrounds (there are tons of pages in their entirety where there are no fucking backgrounds), but also you gotta love the way he makes the women as imposing as the men. We're supposed to believe that these ladies, the new Hawk & Dove, are around 20, 21, maybe??? Nice, Rob. Hawk here has legs as meaty as Nightwing's -- I mean ROBIN'S!

Where to even begin with this piece of shit?

In a Rob Liefeld universe, everyone talks like they just had their wisdom teeth pulled. For a guy who reportedly worships at the alter of Perez and his classic work on New Teen Titans, he clearly never spent a day in his life practicing how to draw varied facial expressions.
And then there's or Wonder Girl in the foreground. Believe it or not, Cassie Sandsmark there is 15 years old. You wouldn't know that by the six-pack she's got on her that looks like it should belong to Superman. Plus of course she's how ample here? Is she up to a D-cup, or is she a high C? For every page of horseshit we get in this one issue of Teen Titans there are at least a dozen artists in the business who could easily illustrate a proper Wonder girl who is clearly distinctive from her older mentor, Wonder Woman.

I mean, the guy can clearly do man titties:

The cover to this issue read "You Know You Want It." Is that supposed to be some kind of fucking joke??? How does this guy have a following??? I keep reading how there are comic book readers that are still ga-ga for his shit! All of the sudden Liefeld's got me acting like some sort of art instructor, something I am not comforatble with. But on top of all of these style errors that run rampant through the book, the overall art production, even if it was more compostionally correct, is still sloppy-ass as all get-up. The art would've been laughable at best if a competent inker was brought in to reign in some of this, but the suckiness was 100% Liefeld. No one assisted on this, I'm afraid.
Here's a book that's easily in my personal Top Five, especially when Geoff Johns writing was accompanied by Mike McKone's art. The good news is that this stuff Liefeld's doing on Titans is only 2 issues. Johns isn't even writing this 2-parter getting the break to focus on other projects, but the otherwise talented Gail Simone, in a fill-in spot, is saddled with the most amateurish excuse for comic book art, and something this bad could set the title back in a big way. I'm taking two issues off of this book and getting back on by #29, but I might very well drop the next DC book that they feel is worthy of Rob Liefeld's services. I mean, if THEY don't care about the book, why should I?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Thanks for playing

There wasn't anything that I took from the August 21, 2005 Chicago Sun-Times article on accused murderer Jeanette Sliwinski that made me any more sympathetic to her plight. I missed the weekend article inititally, but I got it today, thanks to catching Times columnist Richard Roeper's Aug. 24th piece making me aware. I totally agree, by the way, that the increasingly loathsome media places too much of an emphasis on the plight of the pretty. Say the hopeless waste of space who committed this crime was a young lady more reminiscent of Jean Teasdale, would the media have had as much to do with this story. It should be wrenching enough that ANYONE took three vital and beloved gentlemen in their prime due to a truly selfish act, but the press is a lot more inclined to give this attention, mainly because they what to know why such a stereotypically attractive gal could commit such a heinous crime.

What I am dreading is the prospect of some well-payed attorneys getting a forum to suggest to a jury that these 3 counts of murder were preventable because someone else was not held accountable. One can't help but speculate that going off the not guilty plea submitted.

But because I don't want to make this all about HER, I offer this space now to the fine individuals who are no longer with us on Earth, but in our hearts forever:

  • Douglas Meis

  • John Glick

  • Michael Dahlquist

  • Also, I must add that the Dials turned in an OUTSTANDING return engagement at the Empty Bottle on Saturday, August 20th. It couldn't have been easy for anyone involved, but they cranked out a performance that has me confident that they can kick the jams going forward. Lord knows they'd be forgiven all the time in the world to regroup considering the circumstances. The lovely Rebecca Crawford was hit particularly hard by this tragedy, and she rocked it like a champ. Cheers and God bless, ladies.

    Monday, August 22, 2005

    Best Shots: GREEN LANTERN #3

    My lead contribution to Best Shots @ this week is Green Lantern #3.
    Best Shots

    Clearly others are on the fence on this book as am I because there's a stellar lineup of talent turning in a hit-or-miss story right now. Some people, after 3 issues, are calling it falt-out boring, and I'm not going to argue with that right now, just so long as they don't call my review, boring. :-p
    I think the book is at least good enough right now that it deserves another 3 or 4 issues to assess whether or not this is going in a good direction.

    Tuesday, August 16, 2005

    Broken Bat

    My Newsarama editor had to go and pull rank on me and snag review duties on DC’s All Star Batman & Robin the Boy the Wonder #1 for, but since this is my space, I’m gonna tell you what I think of the book.

    For starters, I hope what we got from the first issue is not what pervades throughout the series as a whole. If not, Frank Miller is going to only have two good Batman outings under his belt (Dark Knight Returns, Year One) while three others were creative misfires (DK2, Batman/Spawn, and now this). From this opening chapter at least, it looks like Miller is taking Batman in a SIN CITY sort of direction, and it doesn’t necessarily serve a superheroic retelling of the origin of Batman’s sidekick, Robin. This SIN CITY idea mainly comes from how we are introduced to Vicki Vale. I have no qualms with her being portrayed as a take-no-prisoners Gotham City society columnist, but the way she’s gratuitously rendered in her unmentionables while dictating a story is bliss under Jim Lee’s pencils, but borderline insulting as a longtime Batman fan. In interviews preceding the release of this high profile book, Miller promised guest appearances from Black Canary and Wonder Woman, not exactly regulars in regular Batman series, so one wonders if we’re going to get the same cheesecake moments from them in instances that contribute nothing for what Miller himself called “Batman: Year Two” (or is that “Robin: Year One”??).

    I also wasn’t too keen on how Bruce Wayne was portrayed in All Star B&R #1. If this is what we get for another five to eight issues (the series’ run is up in the air at this point), I am ready to fully embrace the bitter Dark Knight we have in the mainstream DC books out right now. What’s most unsettling about this Bruce who in assessing Dick Grayson just before his parents are ruthlessly assassinated refers to the boy as a “brat” is that it doesn’t even sound like the Bruce we got in Year One and Dark Knight Returns. Instead it’s the one from DK2 who seemed to positively despise his first and most legendary sidekick. I swear in reading that sequel to Dark Knight Returns in 2001 that it seemed like Miller absolutely hated the mere notion of Dick Grayson as a character.

    Ultimately in this first part of the story, the highlight has to be the murder of Grayson’s parents. In reimagining the story, Miller & Lee really only alter the scenario in that the Flying Graysons successfully perform their acrobatic trapeze show in Gotham only to be gunned down as they accept their applause (originally it was rigging the ropes to fail resulting in a fatal plunge during the performance). This leads to Dick’s first meeting with Batman, the concluding page to issue #1 (“You’ve been drafted into a war.”), and that’s about it. Vicki Vale logs in more page time than Bruce & Dick combined. Should this continue in the subsequent chapters of this story, we have a problem, but I’ve been reading comics long enough to know that an opening chapter is rarely the measuring stick for a series. I’m ready to give All Star Batman & Robin a couple more chances. With the movie Batman Begins kicking all kinds of ass this summer, it would’ve been nice to see this well publicized series get off to a better start, though.

    Maiden Voyage

    Aloha, students. I'm Joe, also known in cyberland as the Rev. O.J. Flow.

    This is a work in progress as I try to see what works and what doesn't, how far I can take this, and if it'll all be worth it in the end.

    As you may or may not know, "The Reverend's Show" is a column I write periodically, pontificating about things on my mind, from comic books to sports, from entertainment to politics. Right now 2 different websites graciously run "The Show":
  • Shotgun Reviews

  • Life During Wartime

  • Through my alliance with Shotgun Reviews, I contribute weekly book reviews for, "Best Shots."

    Now I'm trying to see if I can do something a little more immediate with this blog. I avoided it for the longest time as it had short-term fad written all over it, but I dug what I saw from Coop, one of my favorite artists, and I thought I'd take her for a spin.

    Let's see how this looks...